I remember being much younger, bundling into the car and going to visit Grandma and Grandpa up in London. I remember a house filled with old books, newspaper clippings, a typewriter on Grandpa’s desk, a pale green dinner set, and a garden with fruit trees at the bottom. Dad grew up there, climbed the fruit trees and indulged in the fruit crumbles that followed.
So it was lovely to visit a Grandma and Grandpa that belonged to somebody else, but also had a house filled with books and music and a garden with fruit trees at the bottom. They were lucky enough to have their grandchildren over from Australia and asked me to photograph them at home, without fuss, playing in the garden and having fun.
Two more lovely, sweet natured grandchildren you couldn’t hope for.
Usually I like to arrange a consultation before a session, so that young children get a chance to meet me before the camera comes out. It isn’t always possible but that’s not a problem. That’s where my silly stories, jokes and whispered secrets (about Bob the little mouse who lives in my camera) come in handy. Play first, photograph second. By working outside of a studio they get to climb trees, run and pick flowers – I get to roll around on the floor ungracefully, encouraging them to be silly, to smile, to enjoy themselves.
Because when you do that, they want to get you to play too. And I am always happy to oblige. Climbing trees may be a bit beyond me now though. I’m game, but I haven’t yet found the tree that could cope.
And then the inevitable rain comes. Just a light sprinkle. But it helps you find the little quiet spaces in Grandma’s garden to sit, and smile, gather your flowers and…
…find a squadron of paper planes to send flying at the photographer. Look at that face – cute right? That boy had fantastic aim.
The rain stops. We have races and games, but the little one can’t keep up. She’s happier picking flowers and visiting Grandma’s lap for a cuddle. That’s when the boys get to wrestle.
And all that wrestling takes it out of you. So you sit back on your legs, heave a big sigh and take one last look in that camera lens to see if there really is a mouse living in there.
Then the very best thing is to stretch out on the grass, look up into the apple trees and wait for your little sister to come bounding over to smother you in a cuddle.
Thank you so much for inviting me over and letting me spend some time getting to know the next generation of your family. I was so pleased to be able to capture them for you during their short visit.
Now I hope they will look at these photographs and remember visiting Guildford, dodging the rain, picking the apples, throwing the planes and enjoying such special time with their Grandparents.